Thursday, August 24, 2006

What's cooking?

AP reports that scientists issued a warning on 22 August that temperatures in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were "abnormally high and approaching levels that could be disastrous for coral reefs -- many of which suffered unprecedented die-offs last year due to hot waters".

But the substance of the report has been questioned. One scientist responds: "I don't know where this 28.6 oC being 3 oC higher than annual high came from. I have been working in la Parguera PR since the 70s and 29 oC is the normal summer high in the Aug-Sept time frame. Someone needs to check their historical data.... "

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Coral Reef Watch notes that NOAA's satellite data are indicating above normal temperatures over the mid-tropical Pacific. "Howland (176.5W; 1N) & Baker Islands (176.5W; Equator)...and some of those surrounding Kiribati Republic, just across the International Dateline to the west, [are] within a fairly large 'Hot Spot', but the Degree Heating Week levels are inching upwards close to '3' at this time...Similar levels were seen in 2004 for this same area at this time but this year's levels are not nearly as high as was observed by our data in2002 when Kiribati sustained heavy bleaching". (Hot Spot and Degree Heating Week charts are here).

-- Source: Coral List, Vol 38, Issue 19.

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